Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't Forget Our Liberty

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
Galatians 5:1

We, who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, are a chosen generation that is blessed above all other people on earth. Blessed, not in temporal possessions, but in spiritual life, which is imparted to every aspect of life. We have been given the gift of God, Jesus Christ, who has given us salvation. Through salvation we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not lead us again to the bondage of the letter that kills, but the Spirit gives life. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. How is it, then, that many believers, who have the Spirit, have forgotten this liberty we have in Christ?

"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Corinthians 3:17

How easily we, as followers of Christ, condemn the Pharisees for their harsh and unforgiving treatment towards God's children. There was no liberty for the disciples of the Pharisees, but only heavy burdens, hard to bear, laid upon their shoulders, so that any joy or love for God was drained out of them. No wonder, then, why it was such a salvation when Jesus came to "proclaim liberty to the captives" Isa 61:1. Jesus not only liberates the souls of His disciples from eternal death, but He also gives liberty to each of His disciples to live life in Him! When you strip a believer of his liberty in Christ, you strip the very life he was granted to partake of in Christ from him. It was not given to us to bind heavy burdens upon our fellow believers, but it was given to us to only turn people to Christ so they could become His disciple, where He, as their Master, invites them to partake of the liberty and joy of His light burden:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

There is no greater joy on earth to me than my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that, I should make it clear that I am not a disciple of any man or woman, nor will I ever be, because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is something more than just a title given to me the moment I forsook all, took up my cross, and followed Him; it is a way of life; a training that will not end until the moment I am face to face with Christ my Savior.

The liberty I enjoy in Christ is indescribable. I fellowship with Him all day long. Decisions I am faced with multiple times a day, I bring to Him and ask what He would desire me to do. When I read Scripture that I don't understand, I bring it to Him and ask Him to explain it to me. When I am faced with a situation where I don't know what to do, I run to Him to find out what to do. I receive spiritual food and drink from Him daily. He is my Friend. He is my Father. He is my Master. I run to do what He asks me to do. I seek His advice. I do things that I think will please Him because I love Him. I don't do things that I think will not please Him because I love Him. I can't wait to be alone with Him and fellowship with Him. I get excited to know more about Him. I love taking any opportunity to simply know Him better. He comforts me when I am sad or hurt. When I am confused, He brings me to a verse that gives clarity. When I am scared, He settles a peace over me that I can't explain. When I am happy, His joy surrounds me. When I cry, He is there and listens to me. When I make a mistake, He rebukes me, but His love during the rebuke so vividly encompasses me, that I don't mind being rebuked. When I am ashamed, He lifts me up. When I feel worthless, He shows me His purpose in me. He treats me like a princess of God. When I am impatient, He asks me to just trust Him. He only reveals to me what is for my good. I trust Him with my life and don't live in fear. When I lose my temper, He reminds me of His own loving behavior on earth. He guides me where to go and what to say when I ask Him to. He provides my temporal needs. He only gives me what I can handle. When my heart is overwhelmed, He opens His arms and says "come to Me, Heather." He surrounds me all day and night long. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my absolute everything. 

This is what I have known in my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, though I know I have so much more to grow in Him, I do hope to know Him more and more sweetly as time goes on. I know it's not complicated; life in Christ is simple, and I am merely one of millions who have faithfully gone before us and have had the privilege of living in this extraordinary way under the gentle hand of our Master, Jesus Christ. With this in mind, I ask the question, what need have I for another person to "disciple" me when Jesus is discipling me every moment of every day?

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..."
Matthew 28:19-20

Besides the joy of my relationship with Jesus, I have no greater joy than bringing other people to the feet of Jesus so they too can have the liberty of what I have of being a blessed disciple of Jesus! When I read Matthew 28:19-20, my heart is filled with a desire to go out, bring people to Jesus and show them the way to Him, so they could, on their own, forsake all, take up their cross, and then follow Jesus and also be discipled by Him. To me, this is what "making a disciple" is; to share the Gospel with someone, so when they accept Jesus as their Savior and follow Him, they literally become a disciple of Jesus. And after that person becomes a Christian, then together, as co-disciples of Jesus, we can go to the feet of Jesus and learn all the wondrous things there is to learn about Him! No matter how weak or strong, how poor or rich, how different from me, how different from what society accepts, how young, how old, how impatient, or how difficult, by the grace of God I will go together with them over and over again to the feet of Jesus and learn from Him. How I love learning from Jesus with my dear brothers and sisters in Christ through the Holy Spirit. I would never try to take away a believers liberty he has in Christ, when I know how vitally important and central it has been for my spiritual growth and happiness in Him!

I have found no restrictions, no oppression, no heavy burdens, no guilt, no rules, or no regulations in the Bible, that were given to Christians to place upon other Christians. There is liberty in Christ for every single disciple of Jesus for the ultimate goal of serving God through serving one another in love (Gal 5:13), and I never want to lose sight of that. If we truly want to further His Kingdom, shouldn't we stir up that liberty in each other and not suppress it!? I am convinced that nothing could bind a church in love, unity, and spiritual strength more than by stirring up our liberty in Christ in one another. Jesus' loving and good purpose in training us is to not only form us to be like Himself, but to ultimately draw us in closer to God every day until that day we will finally be face to face with Him in eternity. Oh, be set free and don't be cast down, for there is only life and liberty in Christ!

"you are complete in Him..."
Colossians 2:10